Our new featured Reviewer for June 2021 is Cindy K.
Cindy has worked for Lincoln City Libraries since 2015, first at the South Branch and the downtown Bennett Martin Public Library, as well as a summer temp and several other branches, and has been sharing reviews on our Staff Recommendations pages since early 2021. Reading and books have been an important part of her life since childhood, as she indicates in her answers to some of the following profile questions:
Cindy, would you care to share any personal info with our readers — such as where you grew up, what you read as a child, etc.?
I grew up on a farm outside of a small town in southeastern Nebraska. When we made trips to town, I would go to the library while my mother went to the store. I read just about every Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden book in the library, every Laura Ingalls Wilder book, and a host of other juvenile books. I always loved mystery books and science fiction. I graduated with a journalism degree from college and wrote for a computer magazine for several years, but then became a stay-at-home mom when both of my children were born. When my kids began to graduate from high school, I started working as an aide for Lincoln City Libraries. Eventually I moved on to work as a para in the library of one of the elementary schools here in Lincoln. Working with kids and seeing their love of reading ignite has reinvigorated my love of books. Now I work as a library service associate for Lincoln City Libraries and I still love seeing kids connect with reading.
How long have you been an active reader, and were there any particular books or authors or other people that “made you a reader”? Has there been any book or author that “changed your life” or strongly influenced you?
I recall around kindergarten, or even before then, I would “read” the Dr. Seuss books that I had memorized–so I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. My earliest favorites that influenced me were A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe series. I read all the Little House books, and moved on to Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. Then I graduated to Agatha Christie in middle school. She is probably my favorite all-time author. From there I progressed to other classic mystery writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Anne Perry, Victoria Thompson, Janet Evanovich, Mary Higgins Clark, Rex Stout, Dick Francis, Preston and Child, Dorothy Sayers, and P.D. James. I also am a huge fan of J. R. R. Tolkien and either read or listen to the audio version of The Lord of the Rings series every Autumn, because it’s not October 24th without Frodo and Gandalf.
When my kids were younger, I didn’t get as much chance to read for myself. But once I began to work in the school library, my love of reading was reborn. I would gobble up the new juvenile fiction and picture books so I could read what the students were reading. I wanted to read all of their favorite books. I particularly enjoyed The Land of Stories, the City of Ember, Winterhouse, and Dragons in a Bag. Once a fourth grader raved to me about The Unwanteds, and I was hooked. Now I checkout all sorts of new books on the juvenile new books display along with my mystery books and other historical fiction.
How important are books and reading to you, currently?
During 2020 and 2021, books have been a welcome steady friend in a very uncertain time.
How do you select what books to read next? What formats do you prefer (book, ebook, audiobook, etc.)?
I generally put new books on hold from the New Items list in the Lincoln City Library catalog. I especially look for new juvenile fiction. I also enjoy learning about new mystery books at the Just Desserts book club through Lincoln City Libraries. I have discovered quite a few new mystery series that I can’t wait to read. Most often I prefer a regular book, but occasionally checkout an eBook on Libby.
Sometimes if I am pressed for time, I will checkout the traditional copy of a book, and also check out the audio version of that book on Libby. That way I can listen to the book while I am driving, cooking, or knitting, and can pick up where I left off reading in the traditional book in the evening.
What do you enjoy about writing book reviews/recommendations?
I akin writing reviews to a book recommendation I received from a fourth grader when I worked at a Lincoln elementary school. The girl was so thrilled to discover a new series that took her to a new world. She couldn’t stop talking about it. And when you find something so thrilling, you want to share that discovery. So I guess I enjoy sharing books I have loved, because aren’t we all looking for another good author or series to sink our teeth into?
What is your history with the Lincoln City Libraries – how long have you been a customer, and how long have you worked for LCL? Which locations?
When my children were little (about 20 years ago), I would occasionally take them to Eiseley Branch Library to find picture books and they would use the kids’ computers. I eventually found South branch library and discovered it was easier to keep track of my very active children in the smaller space.
In 2015 I got a job as an aide at South branch library. I worked there several years, then began working at one of the elementary schools in Lincoln as a para in the library. During those summers I would work as a temporary service associate for Lincoln City Libraries. I have worked as a summer temp for Anderson and Bethany, for Walt, and for Gere and South. I recently began working as a library service associate at Bennett Martin in 2021. So I have worked at almost every Lincoln City Library branch except for Eiseley and Williams.
Are there any interesting book- or reading-related stories or bits of trivia in your past that you’d like to share with our readers?
One of the school librarians I worked with always said it’s not that people don’t like books; they just haven’t found the right book yet. I remember a student that had returned to school after summer break and was not himself. Over the summer he had experienced a family trauma and had become very quiet and uninterested in school. Our librarian decided she was going to find him a book! She introduced him to the book Ghost by Jason Reynolds. It’s a book about a boy whose abusive father tries to shoot the boy and his mother and how the boy finds new direction in his life through an inner city track team. A few days later I said hello to this student in the lunch room and his eyes just lit up. He was so excited to tell me about this book Ghost, and had I read it? He couldn’t wait to read the rest of the books in Reynold’s Track series, and did we have them in the school library? Every time he came in the library, his eyes were shining and he was excited to find new books about kids just like him, or kids in challenging situations. I still get emotional thinking about how a book can change a life. I hope every struggling kid can find a book that lets them know they aren’t alone and there are other people who share their experiences and have come out the other side.
Do you have a favorite literary-related website you like to visit or that you’d like to recommend? Do you use LibraryThing or GoodReads or any other personal library cataloging software to track your reading and/or share it in social media?
No to both of these.
Cindy, if there was only one author you could convince people to read, that author would be:
J.R. R. Tolkien hands down. The cultures and languages that he created to accompany the characters in his books are mind-blowing.
Posted to the BookGuide pages in June 2021 | Last updated in June 2021